The Dutchess County Legislature Democrat Minority Caucus issued a statement on the 2024 Executive Budget proposal. There are some fallacies in that release and I am providing the following fact check information as well as response comment from County Executive O’Neil.
- Dutchess County’s sales tax is 3.75%, lower than almost every county in New York State. Here is the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s documentation of sales tax rates. You will see most other counties, including neighboring Hudson Valley counties, are at 4% or even higher. Dutchess has had a lower rate for decades. https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/sales/pub718a.pdf
It is important to understand the breakdown of all sales taxes that are collected. For Dutchess County, there are three sales taxes collected and they are as follows:
Dutchess County sales tax: 3.75 %
New York State sales tax: 4.00 %
MTA sales tax: .375%*
Total Sales Taxes: 8.125%
*Only a few counties have MTA (Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District) sales tax imposed on them by the State (in addition the MTA payroll tax and other taxes imposed by the state)
- Groceries (food/beverage and food products) are not taxed, only items like candy or soda. Here is a link to the specifics: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pubs_and_bulls/tg_bulletins/st/food_sold_by_food_stores.htm
Response comment from Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil:
Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil said, “The 2024 Budget has no cuts to services, no layoffs and decreases the property tax rate by 10.6% and tackles tough challenges like affordable housing, public safety, homelessness and much more. Expenses are rising primarily due to contracted salary and benefits costs – contracts which were authorized unanimously by the County Legislature – and due to $16 million in additional mandated costs from New York State.
Expenses must be balanced by revenue, which we have done each and every year with property tax cuts for the last 10 years. Our fiscal stewardship is evidenced by Dutchess County’s AA++ bond rating and high marks from the New York State Comptroller. It is dishonest for the Democrats to claim “fiscal irresponsibility” and it obvious these are simply political lies just before Election Day. The public is smarter than to fall for that.
For 2024, we have cut expenses wherever possible without negatively impacting programs and services that residents rely on. Additional revenues are necessary to balance the budget and keep services intact.
Dutchess County’s 3.75% sales tax rate has been one of the lowest in New York State for decades, almost every other county has a county rate of 4% or even higher, including our neighboring counties Ulster and Columbia. Dutchess is also one of the only counties to have a sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear items less than $110, ensuring necessary household items like apparel, groceries as well as medicine and healthcare items are tax-free for families.
The final decisions about the 2024 Budget are yet to be made, as the Legislature must now begin its budget review before adopting the budget. Democrats cannot claim “County Republicans” are raising taxes. The Executive Budget proposal is from one Republican – the County Executive. And as County Executive, I believe keeping property taxes low and ensuring the services people rely on is important to our residents. The Democrat Minority caucus believes otherwise – which means much higher property taxes or devastating cuts to vital programs.
Over the next few weeks, both the Republicans and the Democrats serving in the County Legislature can make changes to the Executive Budget plan. I urge them to consider all changes wisely, as we must protect our residents and ensure fiscal stability for years ahead in the final adopted budget.”
To fact-check the above statement, here is a link that shows the list of counties that do not charge sales tax for clothing and footwear items under $110: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/sales/pub718c.pdf
Thank you for your attention and the opportunity to ensure information is accurate.
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